Tales from deep­est Ngaru­awahia

Old Bike Australasia - - OUT’N’ABOUT -

Af­ter thread­ing the nee­dle lane split­ting through the early morn­ing Auck­land peak hour traf­fic in tor­ren­tial rain, my first stop was the small town of Ngaru­awahia, a lit­tle over 2 hours from my start point, where I planned to track down Paul Bryant, owner and cre­ative ge­nius of Vik­ing Ex­hausts. Be­ing a small New Zealand town, I knew the lo­cal post of­fice, which opened at nine, would be able to help me out. A few of the pass­ing lo­cals noted my drenched state and ques­tioned my grasp on re­al­ity. One bloke com­mented that he usu­ally rode his bike ev­ery day, but with to­day’s down­pour, he woosed out. Af­ter a bit of mo­tor­cy­cle ban­ter, I dropped the ques­tion, “Do you know a bloke round here by the name of Paul Bryant, owns Vik­ing Ex­hausts?” Well this bloke shuf­fles through his pock­ets and from his wal­let, ex­tracts a busi­ness card and drops it on the ta­ble in front of me. You guessed it. He was Paul Bryant.

Af­ter a lit­tle fur­ther con­ver­sa­tion, Paul in­vited me to have a look at “Vik­ing Ex­hausts World Head

Dur­ing a re­cent rid­ing trip through New Zealand, Bryce Bathe came across Paul Bryant, the man be­hind Vik­ing Ex­hausts. Here’s the scoop:

Quar­ters”. This was an of­fer I could not refuse, con­sid­er­ing that nine months pre­vi­ously, he had built a beau­ti­ful pair of “Black Cap” muf­flers for my clas­sic 1975 Tri­umph T160 Tri­dent, a trans­ac­tion that tran­spired en­tirely on line. Be­ing in the neigh­bour­hood, I just needed to find this bloke, and thank him face to face for his ex­cel­lent crafts­man­ship and fab­u­lous ser­vice. I was for­tu­nate to spend 3 hours with Paul, learn­ing the finer de­tails of build­ing mo­tor­cy­cle ex­haust sys­tems. Muf­flers not only have to look “right” and fit per­fectly, baf­fles need to be de­signed to get the right sound.

Per­fect­ing the baf­fle de­sign for his Nor­ton Com­mando “whistler” muf­flers is an­other of Paul’s clever achieve­ments. Cre­at­ing the per­fect bend in an ex­haust tube with the ex­act flare to glide into per­fect po­si­tion is a re­mark­able feat of en­gi­neer­ing. All cus­tom ex­haust sys­tems are fit­ted up on the en­gine/frame units so that mounts can be tai­lor­made, re­sult­ing in the sys­tem be­ing sim­ple to fit by its in­staller. All nuts, bolts, wash­ers and clamps are sup­plied, leav­ing noth­ing to chance. Ev­ery or­der is in­di­vid­u­ally made to the pur­chaser’s re­quire­ments. Paul also built his own tube ben­der, with very clever man­drels and de­gree plates to make his work ac­cu­rate, per­fectly smooth and quick. As Paul ex­plained, “It’s like rid­ing the per­fect line in a se­ries of bends on a mo­tor­cy­cle. Both need to be ap­proached with pas­sion, com­mit­ment and an eye for that smooth line”. Not only can this man build the per­fect ex­haust, he is a ra­bid mo­tor­cy­cle en­thu­si­ast and clever en­gi­neer to boot. That’s why he is the best. Once pol­ished to per­fec­tion, all parts of the ex­haust sys­tem are dis­patched for bright or black chroming. The re­sult; gleam­ing seam­less per­fec­tion, ready to be pack­aged and posted to what will be a very sat­is­fied cus­tomer.

With the as­sis­tance of his son, Paul is cur­rently ex­pand­ing from this 70s-only ex­haust sys­tems and de­sign­ing some­thing for Tri­umph’s Rocket Three. It would be great to see this cot­tage in­dus­try roll on to the next gen­er­a­tion. Check out Paul’s web­site: www.Vik­ingEx­haust.com Phone: (64) 7 824 8105 or Mo­bile (6)4 27 242 0781, email: [email protected]­ingex­haust.com

LEFT Vik­ing Ex­hausts World Head­quar­ters. RIGHT Align­ment Test Jig.

The man him­self with en­gine units mounted in mo­tor­cy­cle frames.

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